Interview: The Season 4 Winners of ‘Rock the Block’ Tell All
Michel and Anthony describe the “surreal” experience of taking home this season’s top honor
After six weeks of fierce competition, cold Colorado weather and unforgettable experiences, Michel Smith Boyd and Anthony Elle (Luxe for Less) saw fireworks over their sexy, luxurious bachelor pad during the Season 4 finale of Rock the Block, HGTV’s must-see renovation competition series. Their winning embrace was full of genuine joy: The newcomers of the block turned out to be its namesake.
This was the most valuable season yet: Every new-build on the block started with a value of $1.9 million, and each team was given $250,000 to renovate. After six long weeks, the homes all appraised at over $2.7 million, but Michel and Anthony skyrocketed their reno up to a whopping $2.85 million. Seems the deck off the main bedroom, that ensuite behind the kitchen and the hidden speakeasy room really pulled through.
Facing off this season, in addition to Anthony and Michel, were Jonathan Knight and Kristina Crestin (Farmhouse Fixer), Page Turner and Mitch Glew (Fix My Flip), and Bryan and Sarah Beaumler (Renovation Island). The teams were judged by three returning Rock the Block champions: Season 1 winner Jasmine Roth (Help! I Wrecked My House) and reigning Season 3 champions Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson (Married to Real Estate).
We caught up with Michel and Anthony after their big win to talk all things Rock the Block and see how they’re settling in post-victory.
HGTV: What was the first thought that went through each of your minds when you found out you’d won?
Michel: I didn’t even realize we’d won! When those fireworks went off and we were standing out on the block it was freezing cold, adrenaline was pumping. I couldn’t tell that they were in front of our house. And I was like, oh, wait a minute! I imagine we looked so bewildered.
Anthony: It was crazy because before we were like, talking about if they would have sliders at the after party. You want to win, but there’s so much work involved. When you’re finally done with it you’re really proud of yourself, but also kind of ready to go. So it was like, wait, did they just say our names? To this day, I still don’t remember Ty [Pennington] saying our names. It was a surreal experience.
HGTV: What element of your project makes you the most proud? Is there a space in the home that’s your favorite or that has special significance for you?
Michel: I’m most proud that we got to do the things we love. I painted every single thing on the wall, and Anthony actually got to design the bedding in the primary bedroom. And in that room, I actually painted the entire room myself, like the ombre effect from floor to ceiling. They were labors of love but the idea of winning and also doing it with our personal specialties was really cool.
Anthony: The kitchen, by far. I think everybody who walked in our house, whether they were contractors, other cast members, producers, everybody could not stop talking about it. And it was my favorite, even before they saw it.
HGTV: Were there any defining moments that marked a turning point for you during the competition? Any highlights or low points that stuck out?
Michel: The low points are minimized by the highlights. Filming is tough, and getting used to the Colorado climate and the altitude was a bit of a transition. But other than that, the process is beautiful. Highlights for me were, for one, this Rock the Block experience was bigger than any television I’ve done prior. The scale of production is massive, and the size of the crew was so big, because the stakes are so high. It was just a lot of fun. I never imagined doing hot air balloons, and we did a horseback ride. It was an adventure.
Anthony: I think when the [weather] elements changed. When it got colder it was like, "Okay, we are no longer in Kansas. We are definitely in Denver." That’s what made the difference: having to deliver even in the midst of all the weather changes.
HGTV: What was the first thing you did when the competition was over and you went back home?
Michel: Sleep. You know, there’s a lot of adrenaline happening with Rock the Block. And I think that everyone goes home and probably sleeps for at least a week. But as tough as it was, I miss it.
Anthony: I have custody of my niece, so I inspected the house to see how she was and if she'd been on top of her chores. [I wanted] to see exactly how much work I would have to do getting her back on her normal schedule, but she held it down pretty okay.
HGTV: What creative inspiration or tricks of the trade from the other contestants’ homes will you bookmark and take with you into future projects?
Michel: I’ve watched all three seasons so far ... and the talent [this season] is next level. When we got to tour each other’s houses, I took tips from everyone. The Beaumlers had an incredible spa. Paige and Mitch had the coolest bookcases and wine storage ideas. The way Jon and Kristina configured their floor plan with the prep kitchen was awesome.
Anthony: The Beaumlers spa was the most clever. When we were able to visit each other’s homes, I didn’t want to leave. I loved being in that space. I think they did such a profound job of incorporating that and it somehow felt organic. In Paige and Mitch’s home, I loved that kitchen. It was very sexy, but very modern and utilitarian.
HGTV: Do you have any words of advice for future competitors based on your Rock the Block experience?
Michel: Rest up before you come. Expect the unexpected. Give it 100%, leave nothing on the table. We worked so hard, like to the point of delirium, and I think every team did and does. As much as there’s this great camaraderie, there’s also this driving competitive force, because we’re literally across the street from each other. We’re on the same block with the same house. And we have no idea what other teams are doing. It’s an amazing thing to know that you did everything you possibly could to make this the best experience for the new homeowners. I’m just really grateful to HGTV for giving me the opportunity to do that. You’ve got to bring your A-game for Rock the Block.
Anthony: If you’re gonna be there and compete, then you have to be in it and compete. We all have outside projects, but that particular competition really requires your full presence, full mind, body and soul. If you don’t give it that, you’ll feel like you’ve been shortchanged.
HGTV: If you were challenged to come back to Rock the Block next season to defend your title, would you do it?
Michel: Oh yes, I’d be back. I might have to bribe Anthony, but we’d love to come back.
Anthony: Yes, I would do it, but I would be very mentally prepared. And I would have a scheduled date with my therapist the entire time.